Me and these damned movies from the 90’s
Due to my love of danny boyle’s first film SHALLOW GRAVE I couldn’t wait for his follow up and back in the nineties I would read any movie magazines that came out. Keep in mind this was before the internet. So I knew a lot about this project before it came out. I was even tempted to read the novel just to find out exactly what is was all about. I went to see the film opening night after hearing about it at all the film festivals and the reviews being praise worthy then I saw the trailer that convinced me it was a must see. I saw it to a half full crowd and it won me over. If it had been a girl it would have been love at first sight it had me in it’s hands and never released it’s grip on me until the credits were over. It was almost a religious experience in the church of the cinema. It was the first time I truly understood the meaning of surrealism in film meant and was shown it by example.
After the film I went to see it 4 more times bringing as many people to it as I could. I went out and bought the import soundtrack at virgin records. I couldn’t wait for the American CD to come out I listened to the soundtrack endlessly so it could bring back memoirs and visions on the different scenes. I also went out soon after and bought the Script and would use the monologues from the film in the acting class I was taking at the time.
Though the film seems at first to be about taboo’s it reveals the humanity underneath the characters some are decent and just in the grips of addiction. Others are just rotten to the core that you know even if they weren’t addicts you have a feeling they would be revolting people. Everything about the film works together perfectly, The cinematography, The soundtrack, The performances with many unforgettable scenes.
The character go through the grungy and grimy atmosphere but like a clockwork orange it seems to take place in a normal regular world but a bit off. A Clockwork orange is set in the near future. Trainspotting takes place in current times but the surrealistic atmosphere is due to most of the characters being on drugs so while they seem to be straight they succumb to fantasies or abstract elements and visions. That can be horrific but also for us in the audience heighten the atmosphere as to what is exactly going on taking us on a journey into the thoughts of the characters and witnessing there actions at the same time.
I even developed a crush on Kelly MacDonald who I predicted rightly for a change would be one to look out for in the future of cinema. (others like Rosario Dawson would also work out but for each one I predicted correctly as a future superstar there is a Eddie Furlong or Brad Renfro who I was wrong about)
Now while the film had it’s detractors who claimed that the film glamorized heroin addiction to a small degree it did make it seem exciting or let you experience part of the trip but for all of that it also showed you the horrors of the addiction too. I think that the likeability of the characters got in the way. The detractors probably felt that if you liked the characters you were saying addition is ok. Which is not true considering there are a lot of people in the world we like thy just happen to do things we don’ like or look down upon it doesn’t mean we should hate them.
The film is carried on the shoulders of out protagonist and narrator Ewan McGregor who uses his natural talent and charisma to make us sympathetic and like his character. He is part of a ensemble who all make themselves memorable in some way but due to the time we have spent with him we find Ewan’s character the heart of the film.
The film is truly the work of someone is a master filmmaker. This was only his second film and he shows such a mastery of his own craft that you can tell he would be a force to be reckoned with. Which by now with his subsequent films, Such as SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, MILLIONS, SUNSHINE. has been proven to be true. even the films that are considered disappointments still have something noteworthy to show. Even his bad films are better then half the things out there.
The visuals so lush and expressive you could put the film on mute and play it while music plays or at a party and still be able to follow it.
The film is never boring, it keeps you on your toes.
A MUST SEE